Friday, September 25, 2009

Maine Equestrian Competes in European
Para-Equestrian Dressage Championship

FEI Para Dressage Equestrian Mary Jordan of Wells successfully competed at the 2009 FEI European Para-Equestrian Dressage Championship held in Kristiansand, Norway Aug. 19-23, competing with 78 riders from 22 countries. Her scores there qualify her to ride in the United States selection trials for the 2010 FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games to be held in Kentucky next year.
Para-Equestrian dressage is an international and Olympic equestrian discipline for riders with disabilities. Jordan became the third person in her family diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2002 and is classified at the Grade IV level –the highest level for Para riders. Jordan competed on “Bohmer’s As,” a Hanoverian stallion (Brentano II- Weltmeyer) loaned to her by Martina Bohmer of Bohmerhof in Lingen, Germany. The pair was coached overseas by Paulien Alberts, an FEI dressage trainer, competitor and musical freestyle specialist from Emmen, Holland. In the United States Jordan trains with FEI Competitor Susan Jaccoma.
“This truly was a dream come true to compete internationally, and I had help getting there from every corner of the world! With a German horse, a Dutch and US coach, being an American rider, and having supporters from Kansas City to Great Britain we dubbed ourselves ‘Team International.’ I could not have achieved this without everyone’s help, it truly was a team effort!” Jordan said. “Being diagnosed with MS seven years ago I never imagined at the time I would one day be riding in competition internationally. We truly live in a new age of hope with MS, and I am riding for a reason to show what a person with MS can do.”
In Para-Equestrian Dressage, riders compete by doing three non-jumping riding tests from memory: a team test, an individual championship test, and a musical freestyle. At Grade IV, the highest level for Para riders, the technical requirements are the equivalent to the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) third level, although the musical freestyle may have more technical requirements incorporated. According to Hope Hand, Executive Director of the U.S. Para Equestrian Association (USPEA), Jordan earned the highest scores of any American to compete at the Grade IV 4**** level internationally.
“Changing disciplines from eventing to competing at the international level in dressage in a few short months is not an easy task. I found out when Mary makes up her mind that she is going to do something there is no stopping her. Off to Holland she went to learn all she could to ready herself for the challenge of a lifetime. The competition was tough against some of the best Para dressage riders in the world. I am very proud of Mary’s accomplishments and know with her determination that she would make a great addition to our Team,” Hand said.
Jordan, who has ridden in dressage and eventing (a three-phase horse triathlon) at the regional and national levels competitively since childhood, was introduced to Para Dressage this year. She won her first two tests at the Mystic Valley Hunt Club dressage show in Connecticut, which qualified her to compete at the National U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Championship and CPEDI 3 * (international level) competition in Chicago aboard her horse Paxton Abbey. From there she was encouraged to compete in Norway, and Alberts helped her locate a European horse to compete upon to help defray the expenses of an international trip. To prepare for the European Championship, Jordan spent the summer training in Holland and Germany.
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Photo caption: Mary Jordan of Wells successfully competed in the European Para-Equestrian Dressage Championships this summer. ( photo)

South Berwick Welcomes USS HELENA Crew

By Barbara Leech
Staff Columnist
The crew of the USS Helena submarine received a warm welcome from South Berwick’s newly formed Welcoming Committee on Sept. 16, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Town Manager John Schempf said his community’s Town Council recently approved formation of the committee to participate in the Shipyard’s program.
“This is basically a group of our citizens that are going to make this crew feel connected to our community and be invited to our events,” Schempf said. “The crew is away from home and we are going to make them feel welcome by including them in our happenings like the Halloween parade and the big Strawberry Festival. We are still coming together with ideas, but we will keep them connected to all our town activities.”
According to Gary Hildreth, Public relations officer for the shipyard, the host community program was created to provide submarine crews the opportunity to be “adopted” by a Seacoast community while their vessel undergoes maintenance or upgrades at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
“The community welcomes the officers, crew and families of the ship and includes them as part of their community. It is a partnership,” Hildreth stated. “The submarine crew enjoys the community’s hospitality and in return, the community receives a helping hand and a unique feeling of involvement in the lives of Naval personnel.”
Hildreth said, for example, crewmembers may be invited to join in a civic project, tutor in the schools, or participate in holiday events. It provides, according to Hildreth, an opportunity for the community to get to know the Navy and their sailors and introduces the crews and their families to the unique atmosphere of the Seacoast communities. “There is a special relationship that is built as a result of the Host Community Program,” he said.
Schempf said that South Berwick residents are excited about the opportunity to be a host community and several more people are expected to join the committee to participate in the committee’s activities planning.
“We have a lot of ideas for them including going to Powderhouse Hill for skiing,” he said. “I am sure our list will grow as we get more organized and our group grows.”
The USS Helena will be at the Shipyard for extended maintenance including several system upgrades.
The Helena’s crew consists of 18 officers and 126 enlisted personnel based out of San Diego, according to the shipyard public affairs office. The Helena is considered a fast attack “front line” submarine and has completed numerous deployments in the Western Pacific and weapons and tactical training in the Arctic.
Commanding officer of the Helena is Vermont resident Cmdr. Paul L. Dinius. He has served on several submarines and as Executive Officer on the USS Jefferson City from 2004 to 2006. Prior to his assignment as commander of the Helena, he served as a special assistant to the commander, U.S. Strategic Command, and as the deputy director of the Commander’s Action Group.
Photo caption: On Wednesday, Sept. 16, USS HELENA (SSN 725) ship’s plaque was ceremoniously hung in Tirante Tavern at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard welcoming the ship, her crew and family members to the Seacoast area. South Berwick is the ship’s host community. Shown (l to r) are Scott Kimmel, Project Superintendent; Commander Paul Dinius, Commanding Officer USS HELENA; Captain Robert Mazzone, Shipyard Commander; and John Schempf, South Berwick Town Manager. (U.S. Navy photo by Jim Cleveland)

York Churches Sponsor Tenth
Annual CROP Hunger Walk

This year will mark the 10th anniversary of York’s annual four-mile walk to raise funds for the hungry and needy around the world. On Sunday, Oct. 4, at 1 p.m., walkers will set out from St. George’s Episcopal Church on York Street in the Tenth Annual York Community CROP Hunger Walk (CROP - Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty).
Sponsored by local churches, the CROP Hunger Walk is conducted in cooperation with Church World Service (CWS), a multi-church agency that combats poverty and hunger and provides emergency disaster relief in some 80 countries.
Church World Service coordinates CROP Hunger Walks in communities throughout the United States. Last year, funds from the various CROP Hunger Walks and events raised $17 million dollars for such needs as emergency medical supplies for flood victims in the United States, for health services and safe water for the displaced in Darfur, and for vocational training for indigenous communities in Latin America - to mention three CWS activities. During the local floods of spring 2006, CWS was in York.
“We can be proud that over the last nine years our community has raised about $35,700 to help suffering families in our own country and abroad, ” commented Ted Little, chairman and coordinator of this year’s CROP Hunger Walk and a member of St. George’s Episcopal Church. “Last year’s CROP Hunger Walk raised nearly $4,000,” he said, “and we hope to do as well or better this tenth year as we move toward the $50,000 mark.”
The York Community Food Pantry, the Table of Plenty, which serves the Yorks and the Berwicks, and the Footprints Food Pantry in Kittery will receive 25 percent of the funds raised by York’s CROP Hunger Walk. Last year, these food relief groups shared about $1,000.
The walk route is the same as last year. Walkers will start out from St. George’s parking lot at 1 p.m. (registration is at 12:15 p.m.) and will pass through York Village on Long Sands Road to the ocean, and then back into York Harbor and along York Street, returning to the church, where refreshments will be available. Along the way, there will be at least three water stations, and a van will follow the walkers to pick up individuals who want to ride back to St. George’s.
Everyone is welcome, including walkers with strollers and those who want to do at least part of the walk in wheelchairs. Young people are particularly welcome. The more sponsors for each walker, the more money is raised. Walkers and sponsors of walkers are asked to make donations in amounts of their choice. Checks should be made payable to CWS/CROP. Prior to Oct. 4, registration forms will be available at the sponsoring local churches. FMI: Ted Little at (207) 363-7527.